Saturday, January 31, 2015

FWT 2015 Journal. Ep. 5. Face Check In Fieberbrunn

In todays Journal Hersha catches up with Sammy Luebke and the Wolf Pack, aaaooooooh! And its the all important face check the riders and crew head up the mountain to assess the conditions for tomorrows competition.


The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Best of Freeride Junior Tour Chamonix 2015 by Dakine

The 2015 Freeride Junior Tour by Dakine started on the 24th January in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France. It’s the 5th season of the FJT and this year there are some significant changes which are only adding to the hype! The most significant of these changes is the introduction of the athlete seeding list used by the Freeride Qualifying Tour for 8 years. This seeding list is a points system which dictates which athletes qualify for which competitions (rated from 1 to 3 stars). Another change to the FJT is the discontinuation of the two age categories. In previous years the FJT have had two categories (14-16 / 16-17). This year there will be just one open Junior category to champion from ages 14-17 (inclusive).

 

3 Days To Go To Vail-Beaver Creek 2015


From February 2nd-15th 2015 Vail Beaver Creek will be hosting 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek are scheduled from February 2-15. The event is expected to showcase athletes from over 70 nations, along with an onsite media and broadcast entourage of approximately 1,500 members. An international television audience approaching 750 million people will watch the two weeks of racing and festivities.
Vail Resorts, the leading mountain resort operator in the United States, operate the mountain resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado.

Vail / Beaver Creek (USA)
2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Program


February 3rd Super G / Ladies
February 4th Super G / Men
February 6th Downhill / Ladies
February 7th Downhill / Men
February 8th Downhill / Super Combined / Men
February 9th Downhill / Super Combined / Ladies
February 10th Team / Mixed
February 12th Giant Slalom / Ladies & Men (FIS)
February 13th Giant Slalom / Men
February 14th Slalom / Men (FIS) & Ladies
February 15th Slalom / Men

The tradition of alpine ski racing has been interwoven throughout Vail and Beaver Creek’s history since Vail Mountain opened to the world in 1962. Founded by a ski racer, Vail hosted its first racing event, a U.S. Ski Team training camp, one week after opening.
Since 1983, the Vail Valley has played host to numerous annual World Cup races, including the 1994 and 1997 World Cup Finals. This number has been increased by the ability to hold competitions when other resorts have been forced to cancel their races as the Vail Valley has traditionally come to the aid of the FIS by picking up races from Aspen, Whistler, Park City and Val d’Isere, France.
The 1989 and 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships firmly established the Vail Valley as "the ski racing capital of North America", generating worldwide awareness for Vail and Beaver Creek. As a result of the 1989 Championships, Vail Associates’ international skier visits jumped from 3-4% to 12% for the winter of 1989-90, while the 1999 Championships generated the largest crowd in U.S. ski racing history and the coming out party for one of the world’s premier downhill courses, paving the way for Vail and Beaver Creek’s successful bid to host the 2015 World Championships.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Loic Collomb Patton. FWT15 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc GoPro Run

In the men’s skiing category defending FWT Champion, Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) set the tone with a score of 92.75 after a longer break in the contest due to low hanging dense clouds interfering with safety helicopter logistics. He stomped a huge air right off the top – apparently bigger than what he had anticipated. Experience whispered to him that it would be enough if he could keep it together in a strong style for the rest of his run, leaving out a planned 360 on the second air: "I'm happy with my run – I was going to do a 360 in the middle but since I really went huge on the top air – I thought, I must have scored on that one - better to be smart and safe", he commented at the bottom. He revealed that he does feel that pressure is higher this year: "I was really, really under pressure and tense all morning – sure of my line – but under pressure from having won here last year and having won the overall title. Once I got in the start gate I only had one thing in my head, stomp it all, stay on your feet, no backslaps and let's take it all the way to the bottom!".
Reine Barkered (SWE) showed that he is still right up there – despite the compact nature of this face not being advantageous to his fast riding style. He placed second with a score of 89.25.
Drew Tabke (USA) on the other hand looked like he was right at home on the face, choosing an easier but very playful freestyle line including a Lincoln off a lip, giving him a score of 86.25 the 3rd place.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First World Cup Victory for Alexander Khoroshilov


In tonight’s slalom race in Schladming, Russian Alexander Khoroshilov made history as after putting together two flawless runs he claimed the first men’s Alpine World Cup victory for Russia ever since Alexander Zhirov won his last race, a Giant Slalom in Laax in 1981.
Khoroshilov put himself on the "ones to watch" list early this season as he kept showcasing some very consistent skiing earning himself seven top ten finishes, including a podium in Are, before his big breakthrough race tonight in Schladming. Under a tick snowfall and in front of thousands of cheering fans, Khoroshilov laid out two of the most impressive runs seen all season.
After clocking the fastest time in the first run, Khoroshilov managed not to get intimidated by the thousands of cheering Austrians along Planai and attacked for a second time the steep slalom hill to finish an impressive 1.44 seconds ahead of Italian Stefano Gross who finished in second place and 1.51 seconds ahead of Felix Neureuther who finished third.
"I am extremely happy. I was able to put together two good runs, I had a good feeling on skis all along and when you feel good you can ski fast", Khoroshilov said in an interview after his victory.
Khoroshilov showcased some nerves of steel tonight as he kept his cool and managed not to get overwhelmed by the crazy Schladming atmosphere.
"You can’t see the crowd when you are at the top so that makes you think about it less. But there was a lot of pressure on me after the first run and maybe I don’t show it a lot as I try to block it and stay focused", he explained.
Neureuther, who is currently sitting 66 points ahead of Hirscher in the slalom standings was full of praise for Khoroshilov but also a bit surprised by the poised emotions the Russian skier showcased after his victory.
"I was very impressed with how Alexander crossed the finish line and celebrated with a small movement of the hand. If I had won my first World Cup ever and did so after leading in the first run and finishing 1.44 seconds ahead I would have totally freaked out", Neureuther said. "It was pretty impressive how cool he was after winning the race, and I have huge respect for what he did today", he continued.
Stefano Gross added a third podium to his name this season and was particularly happy about it as he was only eight after the first run, having struggled with visibility in the heavy snowfall.
"It was certainly a difficult day as the first run was not easy for me because of all the snow that collected on my goggles. I struggled to see where I was going. Luckily, conditions improved a bit in the second run and I was able to switch gears and ski more like I do in training and gain a few spots", Gross explained.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mattias Hargin Wins Kitzbühel (Amazing) Slalom


After a week focused almost entirely on speed, Sunday in Kitzbühel is all about the slalom on the Ganslern.
In the first run, home favorite and 2013 winner Marcel Hirscher treated the crowd to a perfect run which earned him the lead. But in the second run, Mattias Hargin who has been knocking on the door of a podium multiple times this season finally pulled off a perfect second run and went one to achieve his maiden victory. Last year’s winner Felix Neureuther was fifth after the first run but managed to step up his game in the second run to earn his 6th slalom podium of the season.
Hargin has been showing some strong skiing all season long and even won the first run at some races but until today he been unsuccessful in linking two good runs and earning a top position. Today finally everything fell into place and with an unbelievable second run he finally took home his first World Cup victory.
"Kitzbühel is such a cool place to have your first win, at the moment it’s still had to express with words how I feel", an almost shocked Hargin said after the victory.
"So far I have always tried to focus on skiing without making any mistakes but realized maybe that was not the way to win races. After seeing Felix’s second run in Wengen I realized I could and should risk more. Today I was able to change my mindset and went full on, it certainly paid off", Hargin said before adding "Finally!" and summarizing what most thought.
After straddling in last year’s Kitzbühel slalom, Hirscher was aiming for a second victory on the Ganslern but some minor mistakes in the second run proved just too costly. Nevertheless, 80 points in his pocket and yet another podium are far from disappointing in Hirscher’s mind.
"It’s an unbelievable feeling to finish 2nd in the Kitzbuehel so I am thankful for how it worked out", Hirscher said.
But more than about his run, Hirscher wanted to talk about Hargin’s.
"I really have to say congratulations to Matthias, his second run was probably one of the best runs I have ever seen. Attacking a very tough course the way Mattias did isn’t something you see every day", Hirscher said.
Neureuther was equally impressed with Hargin’s performance.
"Today Mattias showed that you could risk a lot on the course and I think he truly deserved this victory. Both Marcel and I skied a bit too technically while he charged all the way", Neureuther said. "This is one of the biggest slaloms of the year and to be on the podium here is always special. It was a tough course and there were tough conditions in some sections so overall I am happy with the end result", Neureuther added.

Lindsey Vonn Wins St. Moritz Super-G


After the disappointment in Saturday’s downhill race, USA's Lindsey Vonn bounced back to get the super-G win on Sunday. Vonn went down the Engiadina course in 1:23.55 to edge Austria's Anna Fenninger by 0.24 seconds. Fenninger's teammate Nicole Hosp came third, 1.10 seconds off the pace.
Since her comeback in Lake Louise last December after two knee injuries, Lindsey Vonn topped the podium in five out of the ten races she has entered so far this season.
"It was definitely a difficult course today", Vonn told reporters in the finish area. "There was a lot of terrain and a lot of tricky parts. But I had a good inspection and thankfully I didn't make any mistakes like I did yesterday, so it's a good day".
The course set by the Austrians turned out to be very challenging as twenty-seven racers skied out. Among them Tina Maze, Elisabeth Görgl and Tina Weirather all missed the second to last gate. Home favourite Lara Gut caught an edge and fell on her side in the upper part.
"There were a few gates that girls were having trouble with", she explained. "That is one nice thing about being older, is that I've seen course sets like it was today. I just gave a little bit more room to make sure that I was through the finish".
Vonn clinched her 22nd career top spot in the discipline
Anna Fenninger finished second for the third time in a row in a super-G, after Val d'Isère and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
"In the first two section my rhythm wasn't that good but I skied well in the lower part", said the Olympic super-G champion. "To be able to beat Lindsey, your run has to be perfect from top to bottom. Finishing second again is a good result. It's not easy to be consistent at this level. Hopefully next time I can take a step forward and go for the win, especially with the World Championships coming up".
Nicole Hosp got her second podium finish of the World Cup season after the slalom victory in Aspen.
"My line wasn't that good in some sections where I was a bit too round", Hosp said. "But overall it's a great performance for me, which makes me very happy".

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Freeride World Tour Held 1st Competion of the Season in Chamonix-Mont-BlancToday


The contest went well and was followed by 106,000 viewers via the live streaming on the web – despite tricky conditions with clouds just below the face constantly threatening visibility on the Chamois competition face.
The face is mostly east-facing and feature packed. Good visibility and dense powder snow provided reliable conditions for riding with good flow, playfulness and pulling tricks off the features. As the day moved on the snow got a little crustier with the sun getting lightly veiled. Male and female skiers and snowboarders competed in the event representing fifty-nine of the world’s best freeriders with the male snowboarders opening the ball.
The slightly convex start out off start number 1 had riders choosing this start, drop “blind” into the face, obliging them to trust 100% what they saw in their inspection from the bottom for orientation. “Sharks” (hidden rocks just under the snow surface) and wind-affected snow added to the challenge up top. The reward was great snow and good take offs for the rest of the face with some low-snow management needed in the landings of the bottom airs. The conditions on the slightly more southwest-facing part of the face under start number 2 involved good dense snow, provided that one stayed out of chunks and debris from avalanches blown for safety earlier in the season.
FWT judge, Dion Newport (NZL) was impressed with the variety and what the riders got out of the competition face: "It was great to see so many riders putting together unique and creative lines. The venue was demanding as it was short and features were close so it came down to riders linking a smooth line together".
The competition began with the men’s snowboard division. Sammy Luebke (USA) chose a freestyle line taking advantage of the good snow conditions in the morning and putting some extra features in. His playful run gave him a first place and a score of 87.80. He was very happy and relieved at the bottom: "I finished off my season by mid-season last year – hurt my knee. I didn't know what it was going to be like coming into Chamonix – and when they picked this face I was really happy because there's a lot of places to go freestyle and the snow was excellent in there". Sascha Hamm (GBR) finished second going freestyle as well earning him a score of 85.50. FWT veteran, 39-year old Flo Orley (AUT) demonstrated that he can still keep up with his younger peers, placing 3rd with a score of score of 79.80.
Next up, was the men’s skiing category where the defending FWT Champion, Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA) set the tone with a score of 92.75 after a longer break in the contest due to low hanging dense clouds interfering with safety helicopter logistics. He stomped a huge air right off the top – apparently bigger than what he had anticipated. Experience whispered to him that it would be enough if he could keep it together in a strong style for the rest of his run, leaving out a planned 360 on the second air: "I'm happy with my run – I was going to do a 360 in the middle but since I really went huge on the top air – I thought, I must have scored on that one - better to be smart and safe", he commented at the bottom. He revealed that he does feel that pressure is higher this year: "I was really, really under pressure and tense all morning – sure of my line – but under pressure from having won here last year and having won the overall title. Once I got in the start gate I only had one thing in my head, stomp it all, stay on your feet, no backslaps and let's take it all the way to the bottom!".
Reine Barkered (SWE) showed that he is still right up there – despite the compact nature of this face not being advantageous to his fast riding style. He placed second with a score of 89.25.
Drew Tabke (USA) on the other hand looked like he was right at home on the face, choosing an easier but very playful freestyle line including a Lincoln off a lip, giving him a score of 86.25 the 3rd place.
Few names are synonymous with big mountain snowboarding like Shannan Yates (USA) who swiftly won her division with a very strong and smooth run down the fall line. Yates’ nice inclusion of technical features earned her a score of 75.00. "Today I picked a line that didn't get touched the whole run – no competitors went before me there – and it worked out perfect for me, fresh pow turns all the way down", FWT winner 2011 – and birthday girl - Anne-Flore Marxer (FRA/SUI) got a little caught in some tracks after her first air but managed to stay on her feet pulling it back together and make a nice big air at the bottom to take a score of 70.50 and the second place of today. In 3rd place, Elodie Mouthon (FRA) received a score of 67.75 for her fluid run.
Finally, by the time the women skiers had the chance to drop into the Chamois face, they light had become a little lower and a small crust had formed on the snow, calming things down a little. Eva Walkner (AUT) stood for probably the most emotional moment of the day, coming back after two years fighting with knee injuries: "Two years, so many surgeries, pain coming back – it's been a horrible two years for me honestly and today I put myself under so much pressure at the start. I was so nervous – I didn't know where I stand and if I'm good if I can still hold the level or not... It was an easy line, I think all the girls chose a little bit more easy because of the sharks and everything. I missed one cliff so I wasn't sure at the bottom but my goal was to finish without crashing, stomping all my things", she said modestly after a solid run that took her to first place with the score of 73.00. "That I would win – it's a dream!" Christine Hargin (SWE) followed Eva in second place with a nice line down the middle of the face with little hesitation, earning her a score of 72.50. In third place, was the young rookie Silvia Moser (ITA) who showed that she is right in the heels with her risky line, giving her a score of 70.00.

Men’s Snowboard:
1. Sammy Luebke (USA), 87.80
2. Sascha Hamm (GBR), 85.50
3. Flo Orley (AUT), 79.80

Men’s Ski:
1. Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA), 92.75
2. Reine Barkered (SWE), 89.25
3. Drew Tabke (USA), 86.25

Women’s Snowboard:
1. Shannan Yates (USA), 75.00
2. Anne-Flore Marxer (SUI), 70.50
3. Elodie Mouthon (FRA), 67.75

Women’s Ski:
1. Eva Walkner (AUT), 73.00
2. Christine Hargin (SWE), 72.50
3. Silvia Moser (ITA), 70.00

Kjetil Jansrud Wins Shortest-ever Hahnenkamm Race


The Kitzbühel downhill is considered the scariest downhill in the world, but that is only until the weather decides otherwise and forces the start to be lowered half the way down the famous Streif. After two perfect training runs, both starting at the very top of the dreaded Streif, race day unfortunatley turned out to be entirely different story. A grey sky and light snowfall all through the morning made most people in Kitzbühel this Saturday look up wondering if the weather would keep stable enough through the day for the race to happen smoothly.
Unfortunately it didn’t, and after postponing the original 11.45 CET start time to 12.15 first, than to 12.45 and a third time to 13.15, but realizing the tick fog lingering on the Hausberg section of the course had no intention of disappearing, a final call had to be made in order not to lose the race. It quickly became clear that the only way a downhill was going to happen today was if the start was moved lower than the fog. Today this meant going as low Seidelalm Jump and running a downhill approximately half the length of the regular one.
Despite the general disappointment due to the short downhill, todays race certainly didn't lack in excitement and in the end the winner was the same one as in both full-length training runs – Kjetil Jansrud! The Norwegian who is leading both the super-G and downhill season rankings was once again the man to beat on the Streif as he crossed the finish line a mere 0.02 seconds faster than yesterday’s super-G winner Dominik Paris. In third place, French Guillermo Fayed finished 0.21 seconds behind and earned his second career’s podium.
"We are tough guys and everyone wanted to start from the top as it makes a huge difference when the start is lowered. But this is not the first time this happens, races get lowered not only in Kitzbuehel and the most important thing in the end is that we did have a race and that safety came first", Jansrud said about the shortened course.
Instead of skiing two minutes down the Streif, skiers had to adapt to the new situation of a downhill shorter than one minute and Jansrud explained how this takes some mental preparation.
"Kitz is a lot about mental readiness. You don’t want to waste energy when start is being delayed and that’s why I tried to rest and not be ‘on’ all the time. Than after learning that the start was going to be lowered I was able to change my mindset and attack the short course. I had a good run and finally some hundreds on my side of the table. A race is a race and I’m happy I won this one and hope in the future I can win a full length one too", Jansrud said at the Press Conference.
Paris was a bit slow finding his speed and was already 0.25 seconds behind Jansrud at the first intermediate but made up some time in the middle section of the course only to lose it again at the very end and finishing just behind Jansrud. 
"Two wins would have been better than one for sure but today was not easy for me so a second place is quite a satisfaction", he said. "I love Kitzbühel, I love this slope and it has been two amazing days so I am really happy with what I’m walking away with", Paris said.
Over the course of this season, Fayed has quickly risen to the "one to watch" status as with the consistency shown so far he is currently sitting in third place in the downhill standings.
"It’s a very good season for me so far, it’s almost incredible as I still struggle to understand why", Fayed said.
Jansrud was quick to offer an answer: " I’ll tell you why, because you have been skiing really well!", he said and made the whole room at the press conference burst out laughing.
"This is the biggest race of the year and so many people show up to watch. To be on the podium here is so special", Fayed said.

Lara Gut Earns Second Win of Season in St. Moritz


In front of thousands of cheering fans, local hero Lara Gut raced to her second victory of the season. The Swiss completed the so called Engiadina downhill course in 1:43.82 in sunny conditions on Saturday, while Austria's Anna Fenninger came second, 0.32 seconds adrift. Hungary's Edit Miklos finished third, 0.58 seconds out, for her first ever World Cup podium.
With bib 16 and after a slow top section, Lara Gut showcased her exceptional talent in the technical part to make up time and finally build up a comfortable lead.
"It's never easy for me to be fast in the top and relatively flat section, I have to fight a lot",, she explained. "I still managed to be faster there today than in training".
There was wind in the upper part of the track that tended to switch directions and hence had a slight influence on the race.
"Some girls had a tail wind and some didn't", commented Gut. "That is part of the game. We have had races with conditions that were much less regular than today, with stronger winds or clouds".
In 2008, the 23-year-old earned her first World Cup podium in a downhill and her maiden victory in a super-G both held in St. Moritz, but has failed to reach the top-3 there since.
I finished close to the podium in GS with a fourth place (2012), but yes I think it was time to be back on the podium,(...) It's a great start to the weekend for me and to have three Swiss racers in the top 7 makes it even better", said Gut with a big smile.
Still seeking for a first career victory in downhill, Anna Fenninger was the runner-up for the fifth time this season, across all disciplines.
"It was a windy run, but I think it was the case for everyone", she first said about the conditions. "My skiing was not perfect in the middle section, but was good again in the lower part. I'm just happy with that second place, considering the problems I had to be fast here over the past years".
Edit Miklos, who was born in Romania but is part of the Hungarian team since 2011 after moving to Budapest, had only one top ten finish before the achievement of the day. As a personal best, she came fifth in Crans-Montana downhill in 2014.
"I believe in me and I know that if I manage to put in a good run, then I can hope for a good place", she said. "To make the podium today is very important to me. I've put a lot of efforts in training and always tried my best and it finally pays off. It makes me very happy".

Friday, January 23, 2015

FWT 2015 Journal. Ep. 3. Face Check

Face checks and flirting in todays Journal, as the riders check out the new venue for tomorrows competition, Hersha checks them out through her binoculars and spies Julien Lopez causing mischief. Quel farceur!


The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Alexis Pinturault Wins Hahnenkamm Combined


Under the floodlights of the slope next to the Streif, 27 skiers from the morning’s Super-G entered a one run slalom to chase the title of 2015 Hahnenkamm Alpine Combined winner.
After a strong super-G run where he finished only 1.47 seconds behind winner Paris, Alexis Pinturault was the favorite for the win and he didn’t disappoint. The Frenchman crossed the finish line 0.69 seconds faster than Hirscher and 0.94 seconds ahead of surprise third place winner Czech Ondrej Bank.
"In Combined, my best discipline is the slalom, not the downhill or the super G, so I have to be fast and not make any mistakes so I just tried today to attack the super G. In the slalom, I just tried to do my best and even though you never know what will be enough for a victory, when I crossed the finish line and saw the green light I knew that could be it and it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s really special to win here, especially for a second time", Pinturault said after the slalom run.
Hirscher picks and choses the speed races he enters through the season based on whether he thinks he has a chance to collect some significant points and even though this morning’s SG was not a simple task for a tech racer, the 80 points he added to his name after the Alpine Combined made the gamble worth it.
"I don’t have so much experience on the long skis and today the super-G was more like a downhill so for a slalom guy to ski there 130 km/h it’s on the edge. In the end, if I finish into the net, everyone would say, ‘He’s a total crazy, stupid idiot,’ but today maybe I’m a small hero", Hirscher said.
In 2007, Bank earned a third place in the Beaver Creek Combined race but has since struggled to get back on the podium as his career has been marked by numerous injuries over the past few years.
"I struggled with many injuries between my first podium and this one, it was not a nice time. But I seem to be enjoying skiing more and more these days so sharing this podium with Alexis and Marcel is a big pleasure. These guys are some of the best skiers in the history of our sport and I am thrilled to be on the podium with them", Bank said with a big smile.

Domink Paris Wins Kitzbühel Super-G


The 75th edition of the Hahnenkamm Rennen in Kitzbühel couldn’t have had a better opening race. In the morning, an exciting super-G took place on the notorious Streif with Italian Dominik Paris putting down a flawless run and with a time of 1minute, 09.99 seconds earned his first career’s SG victory. It was close to a perfect day for the home team as Matthias Mayer and Georg Streitberger finished in second and third place, 0.06 and 0.34 seconds behind the winning time.
Paris is no stranger to the top step of the Kitzbühel podium, having won the downhill in 2013 but winning his first SG at such a prestigious race gave him even more reasons to celebrate.
"Its fantastic, I never expected to ski so well in a super-G especially here in Kitzbuehel as it’s a particularly tough one. This victory came at the best place, the most important one. It was a fast course set; I wish they were always like this as it works well for me", Paris said after his victory.
Both Austrians have earned podiums in Kitzbühel before, Mayer finished second in the 2013 super-G while Streitberger finished third in 2010 and second in 2011.
"I am very happy about this, two years ago I have already been second here so I guess this slope works for me. Today was fast but I usually don’t really care how a SG is set. But now it’s time to start focusing on tomorrow’s downhill", Mayer said.
As the last racer crossed the finish line, Streitberger was able to finally relax, as he was sure his podium place was secure.
"I was nervous until the end of the race and kept thinking someone might push me off the podium coming from a higher number. I knew there were some good skiers coming down later in the race so I was very relieved to see it no one managed and I was able to hold on to a podium position", Streitberger said.
After seeing the course set of the super-G, an unusually high number of racers chose to use their downhill skis in the race. But the two fastest guys did not and skied the race on their "regular" super-G ones.
"Today was a super-G and I skied on my super-G skis, it was a fast course but if you are ever in a position where you are coming late into a turn with the SG skis you can correct your line while with downhill skis there is no chance to get out of certain mistakes", Paris explained his choice.
"Today was fast of course but I for sure I would not have been able to ski today on DH skis", was Mayer’s comment on the topic.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

FWT 2015 Journal. Ep. 2. Safety

In todays FWT Journal Hersha digs things up, blows stuff up and generally pokes around for treats. What is she doing? An avalanche safety workshop of course!



The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

FWT 2015 Journal. Ep. 1. Welcome!

Here is the first FWT15 Journal before the start of the competition.
The date of the 2015 Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is coming closer and closer. The Tour will once again stop in the famous French resort of Chamonix, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Mont Blanc, and widely considered as the Mecca of Freeriding.Hersha is back again with the Freeride Journal with the sole intention of getting amongst it behind the scenes on the tour. The first episode kicks of in Chamonix at the riders hotel where she gets the lowdown on snow conditions from ski guide Stéphane Dan (FanFan) and catches up with her old 'friends' Reine Barkered and Jackie Passo.

 

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

'Fait Maison' Label Now Compulsory in the French Alps


Restaurants throughout France must now identify which dishes are 'fait maison'
All dishes on the menu must now be marked with the symbol to show consumers which dishes have been created in house from scratch with fresh of frozen ingredients.
The regulations to bring in the 'Faits Maison' label have been a long time coming, from the announcement in August 2013 to the voluntary introduction in July 2014. There has been some controversy over the introduction of such a regulation, but it has been implemented in order to provide a guarantee to consumers, and rewarding and encouraging those chefs who have created a menu without the use of industry prepared food. It is hoped that this might help France in retaining its title as the culinary capital of the world.
Pre-made items such as bread, cheese and wine are to be accepted in 'fait maison' dishes, along with pasta, however, if a dish contains potatoes then it cannot be validated...an issue perhaps more in the Alpine regions of France where dishes such as tartiflette are popular and normally 'home-made' specialities in any mountain restaurant. This rule has been created to stop the fast food industry using the label on items such as French fries, thus protecting restaurants.
Restaurateurs will now face a fine if they do not comply with the new regulations, however we are unsure at the moment how this will be policed and how strictly the law will be enforced. Make sure you look for the logo next time you are eating out at your favourite restaurant in the French Alps.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Lindsey Vonn Sets a New Victory Record


After equalling the record of World Cup victories on Sunday, Lindsey Vonn didn't have to wait long to break it. The American mastered the super-G race on Monday to earn her 63rd career win. With bib number 22, Vonn clocked 1:27.03 down the Olympia delle Tofane course.
Austria's Anna Fenninger finished second, 0.85 seconds off the pace and Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather was third, 0.92 back.
Lindsey Vonn's last super-G victory dates back to 8 December 2012, when she won in St. Moritz. Since her comeback in December, after two knee injuries, the 30-year-old has won four out of the eight races she entered. Her family and boyfriend couldn't afford to miss that historical moment and were all in the finish area to celebrate.
"I'm so happy to finish the weekend with number 63" said Vonn. "My family and Tiger is here. It's a really special day (...) I tried my best and I was definitely pushing the limits the whole way down, Sometimes I was a little bit out of control, but I maintained the speed, especially in the bottom part of the course", she commented on her run.
"I just feel lighter now that the record is broken. I have a lot less pressure on me. I can just ski my best", Vonn concluded.
Olympic super-G champion Anna Fenninger landed her fifth podium of the season, including the win in the giant slalom at Sölden to start the campaign.
"The last days weren't that easy for me and it was really important today to show my best skiing", said the 25-year-old. "In training it works very well. I know how fast I can ski but I have struggled a bit to show it in every race so far this season. Overall I've had a season with ups and downs. Now the goal is to get the consistency I had last year back".
Tina Weirather earned her second podium of the season. She was third in the first downhill race at Lake Louise, but has failed to keep that level since. 
"Pressure has been getting bigger and I am so pleased to come third today", she said. "It is essential for me to get this confidence back".
"Snow was quite aggressive and every gate felt kind of different today. But it was easier than yesterday", she commented on the snow conditions.

Swatch Skiers Cup 2015 Teaser

The next edition of the Swatch Skiers Cup will take place from 21 to 27 February 2015 in Zermatt. Team Europe and Team Americas face off against each other in this Freeski duel between the continents.
In the duel of the continents, Julien Regnier is captain of Team Europe and Seth Morrison captain of Team Americas.
In this unique freeskiing event, seven of the best riders from each region are selected by a team captain. In a face off in match play format during two days of competition, the teams will compete in both Big Mountain (freeride) and Backcountry Slopestyle (freestyle). Once again, Zermatt will be hosting the event, guaranteeing outstanding terrain in a spectacular setting in front of the almighty Matterhorn. The Backcountry Slopestyle competition and special entertainment in the village are all accessible to the public which adds to the very special atmosphere of this event.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hannes Reichelt Claims His First Lauberhorn victory


The switch in the order of this year’s Wengen races proved the right decision as on Sunday bluebird skies and no wind provided the perfect background for the longest downhill race of the year.
On the 4422m long course, Hannes Reichelt laid down a flawless run and after already earning three podiums in Wengen he finally claimed his first Lauberhorn victory.
Behind Reichelt, a strong Swiss trio – Beat Feuz, Carlo Janka and Patrick Kueng finished in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place for the pleasure of the 24000 people who came to the venue to cheer for them. Sandro Viletta, Didier Defago, Marc Gisin and Mauro Caviezel made it seven Swiss Racers in the top 12, finishing 8th, 10th, 11th and and 12th, respectively.
Today was one of the tightest downhills we have seen this year as Feuz and Janka finished 0.12 and 0.14 seconds behind Reichelt respectively.
"It was really a close race so I am really happy I was the one on the top of the podium today. The course and conditions were really good especially as we know how much snow we got the day before the race. I want to thank everyone who worked hard to make the race happen, they really did a great job", Reichelt said.
Beat Feuz was 10th in Friday’s downhill section of the Alpine Combined and was less than pleased with his skiing but was able to learn from it and find his speed in today’s event.
"I was not happy with how I skied in the Combined downhill so I decided to just give it all I had in today’s race and it paid off", Feuz said.
Over 40 centimeters of snow fell on the track in the past days but all was cleared off the racecourse and racers were full of praise for the organizers.
"The course was in great shape and for that we have to thank all the workers, without their work we wouldn’t have had a chance to have the race here today", Feuz said. "It’s hard to say what is it with the Swiss team and Wengen – maybe it’s our way of saying thank you to all the people that make the race happened, take care of all of our wishes and keep us confortable during the week", he continued.
After winning the Alpine Combined on Friday, Janka quickly became a favorite for today’s race but a mistake proved costly and landed him in third place.
"I have a bit of mixed emotions, a podium is always a podium so I am happy about that but I made one mistake too many and Hannes had a great race so he deserved the win. It’s always good when we can perform well in front of a the home crowd and I think today the whole team had a good day", Janka said.

Lindsey Vonn Ties All-time Win Record Set By Annemarie Moser-Pröll.


After Friday’s shortened Downhill, the ladies got to race from the top on Sunday in stunning conditions. With bib 20, USA's Lindsey Vonn needed "a couple of turns to figure out the snow" but then charged down the Olympia delle Tofane course to finally set the time to beat in 1:39.61. Running with bib 22, Austria's Elisabeth Görgl was the fastest in the top two sections but made a small mistake in the lower part and crossed the finish line in second position, 0.32 seconds back. Italian veteran Daniela Merighetti, who won her first and only World Cup race in Cortina Dowhnhill in 2012, rounded out the podium, 0.54 seconds off the pace.
With her 32nd career World Cup win in downhill earned on the day, Lindsey Vonn equalled Austria's Annemarie Moser-Pröll's all-time record of 62 World Cup victories, across all disciplines.
"I was a little bit nervous in the start", the 30-year-old confessed. "I thought I skied really well on Friday, but it was tough conditions and I wasn't enable to be on top of the podium. Today was kind of the same, the snow was soft but at least it was sunny. I just tried to keep my feet underneath me and not to push the skis against the snow too much and it worked out (...) I try to win as many races as I can. Every time I'm in the starting gate I'm trying to win, whether it's 60, 61, 62 or whatever it is, I just try to sky my best. So it was more frustrating just talking about this record in the media. But for me mentally it was the same as any other race. Now I'm happy we can stop talking about it".
Elisabeth Görgl landed her third podium of the season after a super-G win and a second place in the downhill, both in Val d'Isère.
"I think it was a great race today", she said. "I am happy we could race from the top. Workers did a great job to make it possible.
I felt I was right on the money after the first gates. I did well on the top but it was overall a great run all the way down. I heard I was a little bit faster than Lindsey in the upper part, but it was so much fun that I'm for sure really happy
I like courses with really nice turns, when you have to mix technique and speed, which is the way it is up here in Cortina. But there are still things I can improve on this course and I will watch Lindsey's video to see where she was faster".

Freeride World Tour 2015: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen Teaser

Swatch Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen By The North Face
Date: Jan. 31, 2015; Location: Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, AUT
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard





The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially. 
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 World Championships Launch Ski Club Video Challenge


The 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships are now just days away, and the organizers are inviting all ski clubs to join in the excitement, with the opportunity to win $25,000 in prize money via a video contest.
Starting today, ski clubs are encouraged to download "Fly", the Steve Azar "Official World Championships Song", from iTunes, produce a video, featuring their club, with the song as the background music, and upload their video using the following link: http://vailbeavercreek2015.com/ski-club-video-challenge/. The ski club that records the most views by Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, will win $25,000.
"A World Championships is an opportunity to celebrate athletes at the top of the sport, but it’s also an opportunity recognize and support the next generation of ski racers", said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and head of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee. "The members of these ski clubs are our future, and through this contest we want to bring these young athletes the recognition, and for one lucky club the financial support, to help them continue to follow their dreams".
All contest submissions must be made by an established ski club, and each club is limited to one submission. The winner will determined by total number of views, so ski clubs are encouraged to get creative, upload their videos as soon as possible, and start promoting their submissions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the official event hashtag #Vail2015. Clubs are encouraged to visit http://vailbeavercreek2015.com/ski-club-video-challenge/ for rules on how to submit, and to watch a special contest shout out from Lindsey Vonn. The winning club will be announced and the prize will be awarded following the conclusion of the 2015 World Championships.



The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek are scheduled from February 2-15. The event is expected to showcase athletes from over 70 nations, along with an onsite media and broadcast entourage of approximately 1,500 members. An international television audience approaching 750 million people will watch the two weeks of racing and festivities.
Vail Resorts, the leading mountain resort operator in the United States, operate the mountain resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado.

The tradition of alpine ski racing has been interwoven throughout Vail and Beaver Creek’s history since Vail Mountain opened to the world in 1962. Founded by a ski racer, Vail hosted its first racing event, a U.S. Ski Team training camp, one week after opening.
Since 1983, the Vail Valley has played host to numerous annual World Cup races, including the 1994 and 1997 World Cup Finals. This number has been increased by the ability to hold competitions when other resorts have been forced to cancel their races as the Vail Valley has traditionally come to the aid of the FIS by picking up races from Aspen, Whistler, Park City and Val d’Isere, France.
The 1989 and 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships firmly established the Vail Valley as "the ski racing capital of North America", generating worldwide awareness for Vail and Beaver Creek. As a result of the 1989 Championships, Vail Associates’ international skier visits jumped from 3-4% to 12% for the winter of 1989-90, while the 1999 Championships generated the largest crowd in U.S. ski racing history and the coming out party for one of the world’s premier downhill courses, paving the way for Vail and Beaver Creek’s successful bid to host the 2015 World Championships.

Felix Neureuther Wins World Cup Slalom in Wengen


In an exciting turnaround of events in the second run, Felix Neureuther climbed up from his 5th position finish in the first run to claim his second victory in the Wengen slalom. In second place, only 0.20 seconds slower than Neureuther, Stefano Gross the surprise winner from last week’s slalom in Adelboden seemed to have found his groove mid way through the season. Rounding up the podium today, 0.44 seconds slower than the best time was young Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen who claimed his ninth World Cup podium.
Neureuther got a little unlucky in last night’s bib draw and was the last racer to start from the top group in the first run, but in the second one he was quick to adapt to the challenging conditions and put down a flawless yet aggressive second run
"The first run wasn’t really easy for me, with bib number 7 I really had no idea what conditions would be. In the second run I just pushed really hard and it’s an amazing feeling to win here for a second time in front of this crowd and on such a classic hill", a very happy Neureuther said.
Stefano Gross seems to be on a roll in the last two weekends and now that his back has stopped troubling him he seems to be at his best especially on days when conditions are not ideal.
"After all the problems with my back which I had at the beginning of the season it has now been a few weeks where I am feeling good again and I have found my feeling again. I have been skiing well in training lately so these last two races have just confirmed to me that I could carry the speed into a race as well", Gross said after the race. "The steep sections of his hill and today’s conditions are good for me, today was very difficult but races are won in both nice and not so nice weather and I’m really happy I managed to do a great race" he explained.
In his only two seasons in World Cup, Kristoffersen has quickly made a name for himself in both slalom and giant slalom and has now earned his first podium in Wengen.
"My plan is always to ski fast and see what happens, I think I have proved myself in the last two seasons. I know that when I ski well and I go for it or even when I just ski normally I can be in the top", Kristoffersen said.
The Norwegian was one of the last skiers to come down in the second run, having finished third in the first one, but he didn’t seem to mind the ruts too much and was able to hold on to his podium position.
"It was pretty tough, some spots were really bumpy but I actually expected it to be even bumpier altogether. I’m really happy, it’s really great as it’s the 85th edition of this race so to be on the podium is pretty cool", he said.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Carlo Janka Claims Victory for Switzerland in Wengen


After a two-year hiatus from the podium, Carlo Janka had two perfect runs in Friday’s Alpine Combined in front of some 15000 thousands local fans went on to win his first race since 2011. With a total time 1.31 seconds slower than Janka’s, Victor Muffat-Jeandet finished in second place and earned his first ever World Cup podium. The Frenchman was 27th in the downhill but clocked the fastest slalom run of the day for an impressive climb in the rankings. In third place, Mr. Wengen – Ivica Kostelic grasped his 60th career podium in a season where he has been struggling to find his usual consistency.
"To be back on the podium, to be on the top of the podium after a long time, it means a lot to me", said Janka. "When everything is working well, anything is possible. That happened today, so I’m looking forward to Sunday’s downhill because my confidence is good now".
"(The last four years) was a little bit up and down", added Janka. "Sometimes it was good and other times I was really down. It was not so easy. It was difficult, but I also learned much, but now I can look forward to the next race".
Muffat-Jendet’s best results so far have been four top 10 placements in GS therefore today’s result came as a pleasant surprise.
"Today was a bit of a surprise for me; I felt the pressure of making it into the top 30 in the downhill and being considered a “slalom” guy. I made a mistake in the last section and was worried it might turn out to be expensive for me, especially as I knew there were a few strong slalom guys who were coming after me, Gino Caviezel and Vincent Kriechmayr are guys I know from Europa Cup how strong they can be", Muffat-Jeandet said.
Today marks not only Kostelic’s 60th podium, but also his 13th in Wengen a venue which has always suited Kostelic, even in years like this one when he was struggling to show his full potential elsewhere.
"I was not one of the favorites for the podium", said Kostelic, "so it is truly like a victory for me. It is also my 60th podium overall. I’m thankful that I also had some good luck in this race because Matthias (Mayer) was only five-hundredths behind, but he has time in front of him. He has many more podiums to come — and this was important for me. Fortune was on my side".
"I was looking to score top 30 in the downhill, and I did it. The time difference was promising, so I really hoped for the podium today after the downhill. I pushed pretty hard in the slalom. I know things aren’t going great for me at the moment, and I can not say I am a favorite, but Wengen is a special place for me. I have had many successes here".

Elena Fanchini Takes Victory in Cortina Downhill


Nine years after her maiden World Cup victory in Lake Louise, Italy's Elena Fanchini won the first of the two Downhill races scheduled in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Fog in the top section of the course forced the jury and organisers to lower the start. With 11 gates less to negotiate, the run was around 30 seconds shorter. Elena Fanchini clocked a time of 1:09.59, while Canada's Larisa Yurkiw came in second, just 0.15 seconds behind and Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg took third, 0.31 seconds out. Both benefited from a low bib number, as the visibility slightly deteriorated with more fog and even light snowfalls as the race went on.
The oldest of the Fanchini's sisters, with bib number 14, didn't find it disturbing and charged the 1900 meter long course flawlessly.
"Last night I watched the winning run of Isolde Kostner in 2001", said Fanchini. "She is the last Italian racer to have won one a downhill in Cortina and I tried to replicate her performance today. I am so happy it worked out (...) I have been through so many injuries in my career. My knees and my shoulders got hurt, but I am so passionate about the sport that it was impossible for me to even think to stop at any stage".
26-year-old Larisa Yurkiw raced to a fourth place last December in Lake Louise, which was her personal best performance so far in her career before this fantastic second place on Friday.
"I've worked very hard and always hoped for a result like this", she confessed. "You do your job and then you're rewarded. It doesn't always happen like that. I was a bit lucky with my bib today. I think that lots of things came together today and I did my job well".
As the only Canadian female downhiller, Larissa Yurkiw has had her own self-funded team since 2013. "It's a big step for Canadian speed skiing and for myself and my career", she explained. "We have a big cooperation with Sweden, Norway and Germany. We all need each other and it works really well. To share the podium with Rebensburg is special. We have really a good supportive team".
2010 Olympic giant slalom champion Viktoria Rebensburg, landed her second career World Cup victory in downhill on Friday after the her second place in Val d'Isère last December.
"When I came into the finish, I thought my run wasn't that good, but in the end I end up third", she said. "That's just a great day for me and I am really happy about that (...) For me the visibility was ok. There was fog in the upper part but I think that was the case for everyone but then it cleared up. So overall the conditions were good for me and can't say anything about it"

Thursday, January 15, 2015

85th International Lauberhorn Ski Race in Wengen


The 85th International Lauberhorn Race will take place in Wengen (Switzerland) from tomorrow. As part of the Men's Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup this is taking place from January 16th to 18th with three events, a Super Combination, a Downhill and a Slalom races. The International Lauberhorn races are part of the the Club 5+ Alpine Classics, a union of the leading alpine ski race organizers from all over the world. It was founded 1988 upon an idea of worldcup founder and sports journalist Serge Lang. Charter members had been the "Five" Downhill classic sites in the Alps: Gardena/Gröden (ITA), Garmisch (GER), Kitzbühel (AUT), Wengen (SUI), Val d’Isere (FRA). The 1st International Lauberhorn Race Wengen took place in 1930. On November 28, 1929 along with the co-founders of the Swiss Academic Ski Club (SAS) in Berne Ernst Gertsch signed the founding document of the Lauberhorn Race. After the pioneering years (from 1924), with this race the wonderful story of Alpine ski racing really began to unfold. A story that is marked, to a large extent, by Arnold Lunn and Ernst Gertsch who guided it through many perils. It was long, difficult and often bumpy road.
Wengen (1274 m) is a car free resort located on a sheltered, sun-soaked terrace, 400 metres above the picturesque Lauterbrunnen Valley. The fantastic surrounding scenery is dominated by the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau massif. The holiday destination of Wengen is situated in the in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, 18 kilometres from Interlaken, the Lakes of Thun and Brienz, and close to the UNESCO World Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn. The Jungfrau Region Ski Paradise offers 45 lifts and 213 kilometres of pistes in three different ski areas: Grindelwald-First, Wengen (Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen) and Mürren-Schilthorn, with its revolving Piz Gloria Restaurant, made world-famous by the James Bond film On her Majesty's Secret Service offers 45 lifts and 213 kilometres of pistes.

Updated program

Friday, January 16th 2015
10:30/14:00 CET Men's Alpine Combined

Saturday, January 17th 2015
10:30/13:30 CET Men's Slalom

Sunday, January 18th 2015
12:30 or 13:00 CET TBC Men's Downhill


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Countdown to the 2015 Swatch Freeride World Tour 2015 By The North Face in Chamonix Mont-Blanc


The date of the 2015 Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is coming closer and closer. The Tour will once again stop in the famous French resort of Chamonix, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Mont Blanc, and widely considered as the Mecca of Freeriding.

1. Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix-Mont-Blanc By The North Face
Date: Jan. 24, 2015; Location: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, FRA
Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard



 

The Swatch Freeride World Tour By The North Face (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially. 
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

Saas-Fee To Host Again The Ice Climbing World Cup


From 17th to 24th January 2015, Saas-Fee will once again play host to the Ice Climbing World Cup. This year the famous week-long iceclimbing event will be even more spectacular thanks to new climbing features.
Two weekends of events in the Saas Valley around ice and snow.
From next Saturday, ice-climbing freaks from across the globe will once again flock to Saas-Fee. A programme of action-packed sporting events and legendary ice-climbing parties in the multi-storey car park.
The ice climbing competitions in the park of Saas-Fee are an excellent opportunity national and international athletes and the lively atmosphere of theice climbing scene to witness first hand! The competitions will take place in a special, unique location, so surely there is no more second time. The 10-storey car park in Saas-Fee, where the competitions can take place regardless of weather, with its roundabout provides a great backdrop audience.

The disciplines: Lead and Speed

In Lead climbing, competitors have to master a long, difficult and unfamiliar route in a given amount of time. Routes can be anything up to 35 metres in height. Besides the ice wall itself, climbers must contend with obstacles such as overhangs, hanging ice blocks and tricky rock sections. Ice climbers consider this discipline the ultimate challenge. The winner is the competitor who covers the greatest distance in the allotted time. One way of measuring this is by counting the number of carabiners that the climbers manage to clip the rope through.
As its name suggests, the competition’s second discipline is all about speed. As soon as the starting barrier falls, the competitors leap onto the 15-metre vertical wall of ice and scramble to the top at a breath-taking pace – just like Spiderman! Top athletes can complete the course in an incredible 13 seconds. Since 2012 this discipline is run in parallel.

Programme:

17/18.01.2015: Ice Climbing Youth Championship (UIAA)
23.01.2014: UIAA Iceclimbing Worldcup. Speed Competition
24.01.2014: UIAA Iceclimbing Worldcup. Lead Competition

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Frida Hansdotter Takes Victory in Flachau


More than 15'000 spectators flocked into town on Tuesday evening for the 5thnight slalom race staged in Flachau. Sweden's Frida Hansdotter took advantage of a 0.23 second lead from the first run to remain in first place after a very solid second run under the floodlights. She posted a combined winning time of 1:49.59, while runner-up of the day Slovenia's Tina Maze was 0.61 seconds off the pace. USA's Mikaela Shiffrin, who was 8th after the first run, put everything on the line to finally get on the podium, just a mere 0.02 seconds behind Maze.
29-year-old Frida Hansdotter, who finished fourth in the last two slalom World Cup races in Kühtai and Zagreb, earned her second career World Cup victory in the last slalom before the World Championships.
"I really love that night race here in Flachau and it's such a nice feeling to win tonight", she confessed. "The crowd is amazing and the atmosphere is great. Today I felt this could be my day. I just tried to go for it and it went well".
With top-4 finishes in each of the six slalom races this season, the Swede keeps the red bib. Going into tonight's race, she only had a 1-point margin over Shiffrin. She now has a total of 420 points, with Shiffrin 41 points behind.
With the second place, which is her career best result in Flachau, Tina Maze added another podium to her incredible tally, equalling Anita Wachter with 75 top-3 finishes wich ranks her 10th among ladies with most World Cup podiums.
"I was training well in the last days and was pretty confident about my slalom here. I did pretty good, it's a great result and I am very happy about it".
Snow Space Princess in 2013 and 2014, Mikaela Shiffrin didn't seem to mind that the title went to another racer tonight.
"I think three times Snow Space Princess would be too many and think Flachau likes to have a little bit of a change of things", she said laughing. "It's just nice to be on the podium today (...) In the first run I skied pretty conservative, pretty round especially compared to the girls after me. But I mostly tried to attack more. I felt like the surface was better and I was able to edge more in the snow and arc cleaners turns. I still didn't think my second run was good enough to win".

Salomon Freeski TV: Lost Village

Val de la Clarée is one of the last quiet corners of the French Alps, but it could have been very different. In the 1970's a proposed highway and tunnel threatened to open the valley up to development, but the local farmers and residents protested. Mark Abma, Leo Ahrens, Tony Lamiche and Timothée Theaux visit this quiet valley to live of the grid in a restored chalet for a week of skiing under their own power.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Shapes in White. A New Edition of the Snow Sculpture Competition in Ischgl


TV-format from snow sculptures: From 12 to 16 January 2015, ten international artist couples will create a stage world made of tonnes of snow in the centre of the ski area.
Ischgl sculptures the music business in snow: At the 22nd snow sculpture competition "Shapes in White", ten international artist couples will create an open-air gallery open to traffic on the theme of "talent shows". From 12 to 16 January, winter sports enthusiasts will be in attendance when a giant stage world of snow goes up in the centre of the ski area at more than 2,300 metres altitude. Be it J.Lo, Keith Urban or Leona Lewis: the designs will remain secret, but when sculptured in snow larger than life-sized, everyone is sure to cut a fine figure in the lifestyle metroplis of the Alps. The final is on 16 Janu-ary 2015, when the best works will be awarded. But the snow sculptures will remain in the spotlight a while longer: Until the beginning of May, skiers can admire the works from close up. The spring sunshine alone then decides on promotion to the next round or an "I'm afraid not".
The snow sculpture competition "Shapes in White" is iconic: For 22 years, professional sculptors from all over the world have been submitting their designs to the Ischgl jury. The jury will invite the ten best to realize their creations at the finals. From the submit-ted sketches, masterpieces from snow will then arise within four days, sure to cause a stir amidst the magnificent mountain scenery of Silvretta until spring. This idea was born out of a luxury problem: Every year, the ski area gets more snow than it needs. Thus the tourism association decided in 1992 to create an open-air gallery for skiers out of the snow masses, with a new theme each year.

In 1961, 73 business partners founded the Silvrettaseilbahn AG at the Hotel Post in Ischgl. Since then the Alpine lifestyle metropolis has evolved from a mountain farming village into one of the most renowned winter sports resorts. With pioneering spirit aplenty, the proprietor of the Post Franz Grissemann, the mayor Franz Kurz, and their fellows Aloys Erwin and Wolf Rudolf managed to convince the residents to invest their savings in the construction of a cable railway. And they were right on the money! In December 1963, the Silvretta aerial tramway went online. And the pioneering spirit has been passed down by the four founding members. The valley has since invested more than 400 million euros in the maintenance and further development of the ski resort. Tourism became the greatest economic factor of the region. To this day, the residents have waived their rights to dividends. Instead the profits flow straight back into the joint-stock company. A large factor of its success is Ischgl’s world-class entertainment – from concerts to the international snow sculpture competition "Shapes in White’ with international artists.

This year James Blunt followed the footsteps of a galaxy of superstars who have entertained skiers and boarders in the Austrian resort's traditional Top of the Mountain gig. Long time ago, Ischgl decided to put its entire advertising and marketing budget into staging two massive concerts a year to open and close the winter season. Elton John was the first star to feature in the Tirolean resort's now famous season closing concerts, back in 1995. Since then the resort has hosted Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Atomic Kitten, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie, Pink, the Scissor Sisters, the Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Elton John again, Gabriella Cilmi, Leona Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Gossip, The Killers,Roxette, Mariah Carey, The Scorpions, Deep Purple, Nickelback and Robbie Williams.

EpicTV Choice Cuts: GoPro Any Day Lines - Stan Rey Skis Spanky's Ladder

Whistler Blackcomb presents GoPro Any Day Lines. Hop on board with pro skier Stan Rey as he sends it in Spanky’s Ladder on multiple lines with big cliffs and sloughing pow. Shot 100% with a GoPro HERO 3+ on Whistler Blackcomb’s in-bounds terrain. Spanky’s Ladder is one of the biggest alpine zones on Blackcomb Mountain accessed from the Glacier Express chairlift.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

First World Cup Victory for Stefano Gross


In the first run of Sunday's slalom German Fritz Dopfer made good use of his bib number and crossed the finish line in 56.21 seconds, a time unbeaten by skiers who came down the Kaunisbergli after him.
"I had a good course starting with bib number 1, but even I could tell in some sections that the course was breaking under my feet. It will make for a difficult 2nd run but with the weather conditions improving it might not be too bad", Dopfer said after his first run.
But in the second run, it was Italian Stefano Gross’ moment to shine as he tackled the bumpy and ratty course the best and climbed up from his 5th place in the 1st run to claim his first ever World Cup victory in a race which was marked by a sequence of crazy weather. Overnight and during the early morning hours the Adelboden hill was subjected to pouring rain, which transformed into a heavy snowfall as the morning progressed.
The Italian, who earned his first World Cup podium in Adelboden in 2012 was elated with his result.
"It’s an extraordinary day, this first victory gives it a very special taste. Its amazing, it’s an incredible day for me and my whole team. We worked hard this summer and the beginning of the season to achieve this result today. The second run was for sure difficult, but when everything is working everything feels easier", Gross said after his win.
It was a tight, tight podium today as Dopfer held on to his lead from the first run until the very bottom of the course but ended up losing a possible first victory by a mere 0.02 seconds, time lost between the last intermediate and the finish line.
"I skied a strong second run but it was not enough for the top spot of the podium. It was so close to a victory, I tried my best but it was not enough. Congrats to Stefano, he had a great second run but I’m satisfied with my second place. All I was thinking was to push as hard as I could and hopefully cross the finish line with the green light, it was red in the end but nevertheless I had a great day", Dopfer said.
In third place, a familiar face to the Adelboden podium – Marcel Hirscher finished only 0.03 seconds behind the best time and added 60 points to his Overall lead over Kjetil Jansrud.
"It’s not easy to cross the finish line and see that you are three-hundredths of a second behind the leader, but at the end, I’m super happy because especially after the first run, Fritz and (Thaler) were so far ahead of the other guys. It’s a very good result and it’s good to know I’m nearly as fast as the fastest guys of the race. It’s a perfect weekend — 160 points, not bad", Hirscher said.